THE FIRST DETECTION OF ACANTHAMOEBA ON SELECTED LEAFY GREEN VEGETABLES IN TABUK, SAUDI ARABIA SURVEYWAFAA M. HIKAL AND HUSSEIN A.H. SAID-AL AHL
A survey was performed to determine the prevalence of Acanthoemoeba spp. on leafy green vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, spinach, parsley and dill purchased at retail in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia. A total of 300 samples were collected over one year between September 2015 and August 2016. Acanthoemoeba spp. was detected at different rates in all types of vegetable samples. They were most commonly found on lettuce followed by cabbage, spinach and dill, and during all four seasons of the year. Acanthamoeba trophozoites and cysts were morphologically identified by microscopic examination of specimens stained with Giemsa and lugol's iodine. DNA sequencing and analysis were conducted for molecular identification. The pathogenic species, Acanthamoeba hatchetti and Acanthamoeba lenticulata were identified. To our knowledge, this is the first finding of Acanthamoeba spp., in leafy green vegetables in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia. The results of this survey will be useful for assessing the risk of food borne parasites on ready-to-eat leafy green vegetables that are available at retail.
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